Asian Markets Close Mixed, Japan Slips

Asian Markets closed mixed, with Japan ending weaker after spending most the session in positive territory. South Korea and Australia though finished stronger with Seoul gaining almost 2 percent.

Financial counters gained ground as investors bought back Australia's Westpac Banking Group and Macquarie Group, Japan's Mitsubishi UFG and Resona Holdings. But South Korea's top lender Kookmin Bank,Shinhan Financial and Hana Financial both slipped, suggesting investors were still cautious about the financial sector.

Stock investors watch stock movement at a stock exchange in Chengdu, China.
Stock investors watch stock movement at a stock exchange in Chengdu, China.

The Nikkei 225 Average ended at a seven-week closing low for the second straight session after banks pared earlier gains and selling of high-tech stocks such as
Softbank gathered pace, with credit worries keeping buyers wary. Pharmaceutical firms also weighed on the market after Chugai Pharmaceutical said it would halve this winter's supply of influenza drug Tamiflu in Japan to a quantity sufficient for 6 million people.

South Korea's KOSPI closed 1.9 percent higher as index compiler MSCI added a number of Korean stocks to its widely followed indexes, while LG.Philips LCD jumped on earnings expectations.

Australian shares rose 0.7 percent to end a two-session slide, as investors bought back financial firms such as Macquarie Group and major banks, seen as attractive after a sell-off in the previous two sessions. But the rebound came on relatively low trading volumes and market watchers were sceptical that the market could see further gains, given that sentiment was still shaky amid persistent concerns over more losses stemming from troubled credit markets.

Hong Kong blue chips gained 1.7 percent in a volatile session as property shares rebounded, buoyed by a positive outlook for the sector amid improving flat sales and rate cuts by Hong Kong lenders. shares beat expectations in their debut by more than doublingfollowing the Chinese e-commerce firm's heavily subscribed $1.47 billion IPO.

Singapore's Straits Times Index ended slightly higher with bank stocks helping to keep the market in the black.

Most Chinese shares rose but heavily weighted blue chips stayed weak, dragging down the Shanghai Composite Index. PetroChina, which soared 163 percent in its debut on Monday, fell nearly 7 percent. With investors concerned by high valuations, heavy supply of shares from new issues and regulators' efforts to cool the market by slowing the expansion of mutual funds, many analysts think the market may continue drifting lower for days or weeks.